|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Sugar prices go up three-fold, further hikes looming
By Sifelani Tsiko
THE price of sugar has gone up three-fold in a latest wave of price
increases of basic commodities.
One large shop, which had large quantities of sugar in stock, was yesterday
selling a 2kg pack at a price of up to $1 200, an increase of about $855
from the previous price of around $345.
Shop staff said the country’s main sugar supplier — the Zimbabwe Sugar
Refineries — had hiked its prices citing viability problems.
Sources at the sugar supplying company said sugar had become one of the
cheapest among a range of foodstuffs.
"Another price increase is looming," he said.
"We were informed that sugar price will go up any time this week, but I don’
t know exactly by what percentage."
Zimbabwe Sugar Refineries group managing director Mr Pattison Sithole was
said to be away on business when contacted for comment at the weekend.
Sources said the price of 10kg sugar was set to rise to around $11 000
retail from $2 100.
Although the prices of other sugar in quantity packaging was not immediately
known, sources said 15kg sugar would perhaps be sold at a price of around
$15 000 up from around a previous retail price of around $4 000.
The new prices are almost similar to the ones, which were being charged by
illegal dealers on the parallel market.
According to prices gazetted in July this year, retailers must sell a kg of
sugar for $175,59, 2kg $349,48, 10kg $1 740,52, 15kg $2 610, 25kg $4 350,24
and 50kg at a price of $8 636,88.
Sugar supplies on the local market remain erratic owing to the persistent
shortages of coal and poor raw sugar supplies from growers.
Sugar is one of the basic commodities that have been in short supply since
Traders are selling sugar at prices way above the gazetted ones.
Last week, sources at ZSR said theHarare sugar plant was not operating at
full capacity owing to lack of coal.
"There is no sugar now," said a source at the plant.
"There is no coal. We will inform when the stocks become available."
ZSR has in the past blamed the shortages on the failure by the National
Railways of Zimbabwe to ferry coal from Wankie Colliery.
The sugar supplier requires 100 tonnes of coal daily and additional 100
tonnes to start up after shut down.
The sugar plant also needs four days cover of up to 100 tonnes of coal.
Sugar price increases are likely to send a ripple effect across various
sectors that require the commodity as inputs, which will force them to
adjust their prices upwards.
Zimbabwe has in the last few weeks experienced massive price increases of
basic commodities putting them beyond the reach of the majority of the poor.
ZSR has also in the past cited rising operational costs as the reason for
sugar price increases.
In 1984, a kilogramme of white sugar cost 42c, 2kg 85c and 12,5kg pocket
cost $5,24. A kilogramme of brown sugar cost 37c, 2kg 73c, 5kg $1,80 and
12,5kg cost $4,49.
Rising operational costs, inflation and inputs coupled with a shortage
foreign currency and falling national output have forced many companies to
adjust their prices as they seek to survive in a volatile economic
Zimbabweans seek US shelter
THE United States’ State Department is considering an application by
Zimbabweans living in the US for Temporary Protection Status, which would
grant illegal immigrants immunity from deportation until Zimbabwe’s
political and economic crisis is resolved, the Daily News has established.
Association of Zimbabweans Based Abroad (AZBA), which was formed
last month, wrote to the US State Department in August, indicating that it
had become unsafe for Zimbabweans living abroad to return home.
Raphael Feingold has also written to the US State
Department endorsing AZBA’s request.
"The association is requesting the US government to
Protection Status to Zimbabweans who are at risk of experiencing severe
hardship if forcibly returned to their country," a document sent to the
State Department reads in part.
no secret that the current political climate is unsafe for many
Zimbabweans living abroad," the document adds.
In his letter to US
Secretary for Homeland Security Tom Ridge,
Feingold said the political and economic conditions in Zimbabwe made it
imperative for the US to grant the temporary protection status.
The US senator said: "Presently,
extraordinary conditions exist that
prevent Zimbabweans from returning home in safety as required by the
Temporary Protection Status statute.
"In addition, Zimbabwe cannot feed its population.
Many of the
Zimbabweans that have resisted Mugabe’s tyranny now reside in the United
States and we should consider providing protection status for them."
Feingold successfully campaigned in 2000 for the
and Economic Recovery Act, under which President Robert Mugabe and his
government were slapped with travel and economic sanctions.
In response to AZBA’s appeal, Scott Busby, the
director of policy and
resource planning in the State Department, last month assured AZBA that the
US government was considering the petition.
"The Department of State continues to monitor the
Zimbabwe to determine whether they meet the specific statutory requirements
for Temporary Protection Status. I can assure you that we will take your
concerns into consideration," he wrote in a letter addressed to AZBA
president Dumaphi Mema.
Temporary Protection Status may
be granted if the US Attorney General
finds that a foreign state is in the grip of ongoing armed conflict and that
due to such conflict, "the return of aliens who are nationals of that state
to that state, or part of that state, would pose a serious threat to their
noting that no armed conflict exists in Zimbabwe, AZBA, however,
noted that there exists a "prolonged state of open and hostile disharmony".
The group said this "clash or conflict is characterised by the use of
brutal, violent force by the government of Zimbabwe against the civilian
population and opponents of the Mugabe regime".
The government has denied such charges in the past.
Temporary Protection Status can also be
granted to a country that has
experienced earthquakes, floods, drought, epidemics or other environmental
disasters, resulting in the disruption of living conditions.
AZBA notes that Zimbabwe has experienced
floods and drought in the
past five years and is in the grip of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Countries that have been granted Temporary Protection
Status (TPS) in
the past include Angola, Mozambique, Kosovo, Serbia and LIberia.
AZBA executive director Ralph Black told the Daily
News yesterday that
granting of the TPS would provide relief to many Zimbabwean illegal
immigrants residing in the US. About 45 000 Zimbabweans are estimated to be
living in the US.
He said: "Many
Zimbabweans here are desperate because if they are
caught by the State Department, they will be deported. But if this status is
granted, then it will take away the anxiety of being caught and they will
also be authorised to work and complete their studies while fending for
their families back home.
"We have also not been able to adequately lobby the US
Zimbabwe because most people are afraid of coming out in the open because
their papers are not in order."
Movement for Democratic Change shadow minister for foreign affairs
Moses Mzila-Ndlovu said the Zimbabweans’ appeal was justified. "These people
are directly contributing to the economy because of the foreign currency
that they send home. It would be unreasonable for the US government to
repatriate them back home to face the kind of poverty we are facing right
now. It is imperative that the US government grants Zimbabwe such status."
But ZANU PF secretary for external affairs Didymus Mutasa said Zimbabweans
abroad were out to spread lies about the conditions at home. He said: "They
are a crazy gang on a mission to spread falsehoods about their mother
country. Everything is normal in Zimbabwe, and anyone who thinks otherwise
should have his head examined. They should not use silly excuses to stay in
the US." By Farai Mutsaka Chief Reporter
Mugabe poll challenge expected to dominate High Court third term
THE third term of the High and Supreme Courts opens today, with the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)’s challenge of President Robert Mugabe’
s March 2002 re-election expected to take centre stage.
The application is expected to be heard in November in
the High Court,
and the initial hearing will be for legal issues relating to the election.
This will be followed by the main hearing to deal with other issues,
including charges of electoral fraud and politically-motivated violence that
allegedly marred the poll.
The treason trial
of MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, expected to resume
on Tuesday next week, will be among high-profile cases, as will the Supreme
Court hearing of an application by High Court judge Benjamin Paradza.
Paradza is challenging the constitutionality of his arrest
earlier this year on charges of obstructing the course of justice and
breaching sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Paradza, who was arrested in his
chambers as he prepared to preside
over a case in the High Court, is accused of phoning Justice Maphios Cheda
in Bulawayo, requesting him to handle an application to have his business
partner Russel Wayne Labuschagne’s passport returned by the court registrar.
Among other high-profile cases
is the Cain Nkala murder trial, which
was postponed to 15 September.
Several MDC officials and activists are charged with
the abduction and
murder of war veterans’ leader Cain Nkala.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is expected to deliver the
long-outstanding judgment on the Independent Journalists’ Association of
Zimbabwe (IJAZ)’s challenge of the constitutionality of the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
IJAZ took Jonathan Moyo, the
Minister of Information and Publicity,
and the government-appointed Media and Information Commission to court
challenging the constitutionality of the law, which has been used against
the privately-owned media and foreign correspondents.
Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku reserved judgment in the matter in
November last year.
The court is also
expected to hand down judgment in an application by
the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and the Legal Resources Foundation for
an order to compel the government to publish two reports on massacres that
occurred in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in the early and
One of the reports, the Dumbutshena Report,
compiled by a commission
led by former Chief Justice Enock Dumbutshena, contains details of clashes
between Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army and Zimbabwe People’s
Revolutionary Army troops in Bulawayo.
The Chihambakwe Report details massacres of civilians in the
Matabeleland and Midlands provinces by a crack army unit deployed ostensibly
to crush dissident activity in the provinces.
Freedoms still under siege, says report
FREEDOM of association, expression and movement remained under
threat in Zimbabwe in July, with 59 cases reported during the month,
according to the latest Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (ZHRF) report.
to the report, the 59 cases were reported between 1 and
Between 1 January and 31 July this year, 384
reports of violations of
freedom of association, movement and expression were made.
"Freedom of association remains strictly limited or
Zimbabwe with individuals consistently reporting that they are targeted on
the basis of their real or perceived political affiliation," the Forum,
which groups non-governmental organisations working in the field of human
rights, said in its report.
It added: "The Human
Rights Forum underscores the need for tolerance
amongst supporters of different political parties and urges them to desist
from violent expression of disparities in opinion.
"We reiterate the obligation upon
state agents to enforce law and
order in an objective and impartial manner and in this light find
discouraging reports of use of torture by state agents against victims on
the basis of their real or perceived political affiliation."
The report said another freedom that remained
heavily restricted was
freedom of expression, which was being limited by the "gratuitous
application of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA)".
It noted that 48 women were arrested and detained in
July in Bulawayo,
where they were holding an anti-POSA demonstration outside the Magistrates’
Court at Tredgold Building.
allege that access to food was limited during the period of
detention," the report said. "All 48 were charged under POSA for
participating in an ‘illegal gathering’, with Jenni Williams, the leader of
Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), having a second charge laid against her for
organising the march. Williams denies the charges as she maintains that the
march was not illegal."
According to statistics in the ZHRF report, two
kidnappings were reported during July, while three death threats, one
disappearance and 12 cases of political discrimination were recorded.
Between January and July, there were 30 abductions,
238 assaults, 18
death threats and 322 cases of political discrimination.
Eleven cases of torture, three unlawful arrests
and two unlawful
detentions were also recorded during the period under review, compared to
390 reports of torture, 473 unlawful and 144 unlawful detentions between
January and July.
There were no reports
of murder, rape or school closures last month,
compared to eight murders, six rapes and one school closure reported between
January and July.
Six displacements due to political violence were reported
compared to a cumulative figure of 104 between January and July.
The ZHRF expressed concern at reports that several
candidates were prevented from presenting their papers to the nomination
courts ahead of urban council elections held two weeks ago.
There were also reports that some of the opposition and
candidates were assaulted by suspected supporters of the ruling ZANU PF.
The Forum also noted: "Farm evictions have been
reported, with some of
the victims claiming that they are being forced to move from the farms upon
which they were resettled."
have been received of resettled people being evicted to make
way for government and ruling party officials.
ZANU PF seeks to nullify Masvingo poll
MASVINGO –- The ruling ZANU PF party has written to the Registrar
General’s Office threatening to take legal action to seek the nullification
of the results of urban council elections in Masvingo, because of alleged
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) won eight of the
10 contested wards in Masvingo in urban council polls held two weeks ago.
In a letter to the Masvingo provincial
Registrar General’s Office,
ZANU PF alleged that the urban council elections in Masvingo were not free
and fair and were marred by irregularities.
In the letter, Absolom Mudavanhu, the ZANU PF
claimed that some MDC youths were allowed to vote more than once because
they had registered on the voters’ roll using different names.
Said Mudavanhu: "We have since written a letter to the
General’s Office complaining about the voters’ roll. We even raised the
issue before the polling days. The election was meant for the residents only
and not everyone."
Masvingo provincial registrar
Ignatius Mushangwe confirmed receiving
the letter from ZANU PF.
He, however, dismissed the allegations, arguing that the
were free and fair.
Mushangwe said before the
elections, his office invited all interested
parties to inspect the voters’ roll and the parties had all agreed that
everything was in order.
"We invited them before the polling days and taught them
inspect the roll and they agreed that everything was in order," he told the
However, Mudavanhu said his party would
take its case to court once
the ZANU PF provincial executive had deliberated on the matter.
Meanwhile, the MDC says it will also challenge
in court the election
results for Masvingo’s ward seven, where Naison Tsere of ZANU PF beat Berias
Marlie by 12 votes.
Shaky Matake, the
MDC provincial vice-chairman, said after
consultations with the opposition party’s election directorate, the matter
would be taken to court to seek the nullification of Tsere’s victory.
Tsere polled 508 votes against Marlie’s 496.
Registrar-General’s Office hikes passport fees
THE Registrar-General (RG)’s Office has increased passport fees by
more than 200 percent with effect from today.
According to a notice issued by the RG’s Office, adults applying for
ordinary passports will be required to pay $5 000, up from $1 500. An
ordinary passport for a child under 12 years now costs $2 500, up from $700.
An adult’s executive passport – processed within 24 hours
– now costs
$110 000, and a child’s 24-hour passport will incur a cost of $40 000.
The fee for an urgent passport processed in three working
been pegged at $80 000 for an adult and $30 000 for a child under 12. The
new fee for an urgent passport processed in seven days is $60 000 for an
adult and $20 000 for a child under 12.
The new fee for
an adult’s urgent passport processed in two weeks is
$40 000, while a similar passport for a child under 12 now costs $10 000.
The hike in
passport fees comes at a time Zimbabwe’s passport office
is battling a huge backlog because of an increase in the number of people
applying for passports so that they can leave the country.
A large number of
Zimbabweans have already left the country for South
Africa, the United Kingdom and other destinations, fleeing a worsening
economic crisis and political uncertainty.
But commentators yesterday said the new
fees were unlikely to
discourage people from applying for passports. They said most Zimbabweans
were now so desperate to leave the country that they were willing to raise
whatever money was needed to pay passport and visa fees.
A British High Commission spokesperson last week said the
commission had received 17 078 visa applications since the beginning of the
This is despite an increase in visa fees and the
requirements set by the British government.
Tough visa requirements introduced by South Africa have also not
deterred Zimbabweans anxious to try their luck in that country.
Meanwhile, according to the directive from the RG’s Office the penalty
for a lost passport is now $5 000, while a defaced or soiled passport now
attracts a $10 000 penalty.
Adding a child’s name to an old passport now
costs $2 500, according
to the new fee structure, while the new fee for extending the validity of a
passport is also $2 500.
The new fee for an emergency travel document is now $2 000 from $500.
Is ZANU PF finally seeing the writing on the wall?
"WE should have seen it coming. The writing was on the wall but
somehow we didn’t read it."
These were the words of
Junior Minister of Information Jonathan Moyo
after results of the mayoral and urban council elections were announced.
Results which showed
that the ruling ZANU PF has lost even more
popularity and power throughout the country.
The writing has indeed been on the wall for
the words are getting bigger and being painted in brighter colours every
day, but ZANU PF continues to be unable to see them as it sinks ever deeper
into the mire of short-term thinking.
Short-term thinking has been the downfall of our government.
three-and-a-half years we have watched the ruling party stagger from one
crisis to the next.
In a Cabinet stuffed with men who
have doctorates, masters and
bachelor degrees, it has been shocking to watch such apparently highly
educated people being completely unable to exercise even one iota of common
sense and foresee the catastrophes that their policies would cause.
When ZANU PF let their supporters loose
on commercial farms, they
apparently could not see that this would cause immediate short, medium and
long-term food shortages.
they then allowed politicians, accountants, soldiers and
policemen to take over these farms, they apparently could not see that
successful farming needs training, expertise, capital and minute-by-minute
attention, not cellphone instructions from a city office a hundred
To this day, ZANU PF is unable to see that it is not the colour of a
man’s skin that makes him a farmer, but his training, experience and
When ZANU PF dumped peasants on highly
specialised farms, they
apparently could not see that these people would barely be able to support
themselves, let alone grow food for nearly 12 million people.
They could not see that they were not enriching
the A1 settlers but
reducing them to little more than beggars dependant on the state for their
ZANU PF used its jingles and
propaganda to lure self-sufficient
families out of brick houses into grass shacks and could not see that this
would cause discontent.
When ZANU PF stopped people from producing the goods that earn
currency, such as paprika and tobacco, it apparently could not foresee that
no foreign currency would mean no fuel.
our economy plummeted and inflation grew from 60 percent at the
end of 2000 to 400 percent by mid-2003, ZANU PF could not see that we would
need a similar percentage of bank notes in circulation.
In the run-up
to the council and mayoral polls last weekend, ZANU PF
again demonstrated its short-term thinking.
It did not bombard the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation with
advertising. It did not erect posters urging people to go and vote.
It did not engage in any voter education
as to which wards people live
in and where the polling stations would be.
In its usual arrogant manner, ZANU PF just assumed that it
It assumed that its intimidation, youth militia and of course "The Land"
would win it the votes.
It apparently could not see
that while we all continue to have no
food, fuel or money, we would eventually stop voting for the party.
It could not see that it
is not just the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party supporters who are suffering now, but ZANU PF
After three-and-a-half years of beating the people of Zimbabwe into
submission, ZANU PF is still unable to see the writing on the wall. A change
in Zimbabwe’s governance is as inevitable now for ZANU PF as it was in 1980
for the Rhodesian Front. It took people of vision and determination to go
and vote last weekend. It will take people of vision to resuscitate
Zimbabwe. It is up to each and every one of us to decide how much longer we
want to go on without food, fuel and money. If we are prepared to go and
stand in a line for our own money, then why aren’t we prepared to stand in a
much shorter line to vote? Both ZANU PF and the MDC complained about voter
apathy, but what they should have complained about is short-term thinking
because while change is inevitable, the timing of it is up to us. Are
Zimbabweans now so beaten and broken that they have sunk into the same
short-term thinking as ZANU PF? There is a litany of chaos out there, but
the ruling party, with its degrees and education, has been completely unable
to foresee any of it. Not only can we see the writing on the wall, we wrote
it there in the first place. There are none so blind as those that will not
see and none so foolish as those who will not vote.
By Cathy Buckle
Cathy Buckle writes on social and political issues
Set up national service commission of inquiry
ALLEGATIONS that recruits and graduates of Zimbabwe’s national youth
service programme are involved in horrendous human rights abuses have become
too numerous and too loud for the nation to ignore.
It is increasingly clear that Zimbabweans can no longer
turn a blind eye to reports that all is not quite right with a programme
that was ostensibly introduced to instill a sense of patriotism in the
nation’s young people and to equip them with skills so that they could make
their own way in the world.
Young people who say they
were trained under the national service
programme testified in South Africa last week that they were trained to
torture, rape and kill suspected opponents of the ruling ZANU PF.
This is not the first time
such disturbing testimonies have been made.
Earlier this year, Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube – who travelled with
several youths to South Africa last week – organised a church service in
Bulawayo where horrifying stories were told about what Zimbabwe’s youths are
allegedly taught at the government’s national service training camps.
elicited no response from the nation. Not even from the
parents whose children, if the government has its way, will all be required
to undergo a training process about which some national service recruits and
graduates have painted such a grim picture.
The government has
predictably denied all allegations levelled against
the youth training programme.
Indeed, Youth Development Minister Elliot Manyika,
jurisdiction the national service scheme falls, was quoted in the Herald on
Saturday questioning why Ncube was harbouring "self-confessed criminals".
"Why did Pius Ncube have to take them (alleged
trainees) to South Africa if he has a genuine case?" the minister said,
adding that Ncube should have taken the youths to the police and had them
arrested and prosecuted.
But Manyika should not
be allowed to get away with this cynical and
clearly self-servicing garbage.
He knows as well as most observers why Ncube has
resorted to taking
these youths on the road, so to speak. Repeated attempts to highlight that
there could be something wrong with the national service programme have been
largely ignored by both the government and the people of Zimbabwe.
This could be why our dirty linen is now being aired
ensure that these allegations receive as much exposure as possible in the
hope that some action will finally be taken.
It is unfortunate that Manyika and his colleagues in government are
choosing to be so myopic over this matter. Clearly, the nation’s aim should
not be to punish the individuals who, at extreme personal risk, have been
brave enough to alert Zimbabweans to the alleged atrocities being
perpetrated at national service training camps.
What is clearly required is a
penetrating examination of the entire
It is not
this newspaper’s place to make a ruling on the truth or
otherwise of the allegations that have been made by people who claim to have
been trained under the national service scheme.
But we believe Zimbabweans
must insist on a national inquiry into the
programme to get to the bottom of these reports. It is not enough for the
police to claim that their investigations have determined that incidents
alleged by national service youths never took place.
The police, because of their close
relationship with the ruling party,
are not in a position to undertake an investigation whose results would be
accepted by the entire nation as balanced and conclusive.
The nation, therefore, needs an
independent inquiry that will lay our
fears to rest once and for all, or result in those ultimately responsible
for abusing the national service programme being held to account.
This is something Manyika and
his ministry should pursue vigorously.
Otherwise, if these allegations are proved to be true, Zimbabweans will have
no choice but to conclude that they orchestrated or knowingly turned a blind
eye to heinous crimes.
Barclays stops issuing bank cheques of less than $1 m
SOME commercial banks are refusing to issue bank cheques with a
value of less than $1 million, in what financial sector executives said was
a move aimed at encouraging customers to use local currency traveller’s
Traveller’s cheques (TCS) were
introduced by the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe last month in a bid to ease severe shortages of cash. However, many
clients are reluctant to accept them because they are being rejected by most
customers have resorted to requesting bank cheques so that
they can make their daily transactions.
But some financial institutions are
now trying to limit the use of the
In a notice
seen at its banking halls on Friday, Barclays Bank tells
its customers: "Please be advised that we no longer issue bank cheques of
below $1 000 000 and we have increased the service charges for bank cheques
to $10 000."
A bank official said the move was aimed at encouraging
clients to use
local currency TCs.
"We need to thwart the
resistance to TCs (and) increasing the minimum
amount of a bank cheque that can be signed will force account holders to
make use of TCs," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
the Business Daily visited a Trust Bank banking hall
at the end of last week, tellers indicated that they were not issuing bank
cheques of less than $1 million.
But Naison Sebastian, Trust Bank senior manager for
operations, denied the reports, saying the bank had told its staff to
encourage clients requesting bank cheques of less than $2 million to accept
But he said clients were being given bank
cheques of whatever amount
Sebastian told the
Business Daily: "We have actually instructed our
staff to encourage all clients who request bank cheques of less than $2
million to accept traveller’s cheques instead of bank cheques."
He added that the
bank gave the instruction to its staff because of
shortages of bank cheque paper.
Suppliers of cheque paper have been affected by foreign
shortages, which in the past few months have resulted in delays in the
issuing of personal cheque books.
Several bank clients
who spoke to this newspaper said they were
shocked on being told that they would no longer be issued with bank cheques
of less than $1 million when they went to the banks to do some transactions.
Some clients said
they were now unable to transact their business
because of this new move.
Municipal poll results: a triumph for democracy?
THE results of the August urban council elections did not come as a
surprise to many fair-minded Zimbabweans and other observers, but obviously
came as a rude shocker to the ruling party.
And, as the government’s chief propagandist Jonathan Moyo put it, "we
should have seen it coming".
Too bad they didn’t, and yet one has to
imagine what they would have
done had they seen it coming.
That the Kariba mayoral seat went to a white opposition Movement
Democratic Change (MDC) candidate, despite ZANU PF’s acerbic rhetoric in the
past about whites having no place in Zimbabwe’s political arena, is
something that should have struck fear into the hearts of ruling party
They surely couldn’t have seen it coming! A
white mayor in Robert
Mugabe’s Zimbabwe? No way!
the apathy that hit the elections can only be understood in
the vein of the hardships people are presently going through.
It was very
different from the apathy that formed a permanent feature
of elections held here in the 1980s and 1990s, when the people felt they
were relatively better off and ZANU PF got off lightly despite its many
failures, which have been accumulating ever since.
But as the opposition gradually takes
over the country, not in the
fashion of rebel groups across Africa, observers and commentators should be
on their guard that this does not become an early celebration of a total
It could be argued that
the ruling party still thinks as long as it is
the party forming the government of Zimbabwe, local elections are nothing
but small fry. The party can still invoke the Urban Councils Act to
frustrate all local governments under the MDC. It has done so in the past,
and there is no way these people can be trusted to accept defeat, no matter
with whatever modesty the recent urban elections were greeted.
A case in point would be the
acrimony with the City of Harare, where
the ruling party has sought to put its fat finger in every pie and has gone
a step further by suspending the mayor.
One has to imagine then how the Kariba mayor would go
business seeing that besides him belonging to the MDC, he is also white. Can
the ruling party be trusted to let him work without the interference that
now forms the brief of Ignatius Chombo, under whose portfolio local
We have to recall the many
times that this government has graciously
accepted defeat and how it later made turns and showed no signs of shame or
time of the referendum in February 2000, when many were taken
aback by the President’s humble acceptance speech about people having to
live with the bitter fact that in every contest there are winners and
losers, to even the legislative elections only a few months after the
referendum, it would be difficult to imagine how these victories by the MDC
will be dealt with in the long run by the government. Not that this is an
exercise in pessimism, but the ruling party has made it extremely difficult
for anybody to trust that it will do the right or noble thing here.
The country can only
take a collective sigh of relief after the
opposition takes over the Presidency, where it matters most.
Of course, municipal
elections are the starting point of community
development, but in the past what has been seen is a government that has
refused to give due respect to the people who have elected a party of their
own choice –own choice because the ruling party has had the weird proclivity
of making choices for Zimbabweans!
The report about a defeated ZANU PF candidate in
Mutare storming out
of the centre where votes were being counted and threatening to deal with
the people she had fed, but who instead decided to vote for a candidate of
their own choice, should provide ample evidence that though the opposition
triumphed, its candidates might not be able to effectively work to improve
the lives of their constituencies when people like the bitter loser prowl
If people are
punished for voting for their preferred candidate, what
then about the triumphant opposition candidate? Can that candidate operate
freely seeing it is ultimately that candidate who ended the political life
of that loser?
However, as the MDC gives the ruling party something to
ZANU PF cannot go on dismissing the party as irrelevant to Zimbabwe’s
political scene and, therefore, Zimbabwe’s future. All signs are there that
the country’s future would be much, much better with ZANU PF appearing only
as a footnote of Zimbabwe’s history.
local council elections, however, while having confirmed yet again
that the ruling party no longer has any place in the urban areas, could in
fact see the party digging deeper into its bag of tricks and making sure
that this does not happen again.
The very idea that ZANU PF took all the
council seats in Chegutu for
example, not because of its mass popularity, but because the MDC failed to
field candidates thanks to vigilantes who made it impossible for the
opposition candidates to submit their nomination papers, ought to tell the
world that there are areas ZANU PF still thinks it must hold sway till
What about the next presidential election, be it called tomorrow as we
would want or as scheduled in 2008? We could be moving fast towards the
establishment of a democratic dispensation as Morgan Tsvangirai, the
president of the MDC, put it, but the real triumph for democracy will be
when a fresh poll for the disputed presidency is called. Still, the recent
victories should be celebrated with due caution, or we may later kick
ourselves for having celebrated too soon. With Marko Phiri
latest rates hike death blow for pensioners
Well, we knew the Harare City Council was planning some fairly hefty
increases in rates and water charges, but the latest statement recently
received left me utterly gob-smacked.
Rates themselves, in my case, increased from $7 237 to $43 392 for one
month, a 500 percent smack in the solar plexus – and they had been going up
with monotonous regularity for ages before.
This is a lunatic
approach which bodes very badly for the management
of council affairs.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC)-led council has
obviously decided that if they cannot beat the ruling ZANU PF in general
terms, they will go all out to exceed their worst excesses.
Why did we vote this lot in, if the best they can do for us is this?
And what benefit are we likely as ratepayers to
get from these
All that happens at
present is that services decline, disappear,
erode. Witness the refuse removal situation, the lack of water supply in
certain areas (Greendale is a prime example), the unreadable traffic lights
(when they are working), the caverns in some areas’ roads (Highlands is an
appaling example), the missing street lights.
You may be short of foreign currency for
imported items, but you’ve
got all those workmen sitting twiddling their thumbs instead of getting on
with some useful work.
this is Zimbabwe 2003, but your staff doesn’t have to just sit
around and do nothing. Get them out to Dzivaresekwa and sort out the
horrendous sewer problems – you are worse than Chitungwiza ever used to be
(and that is no compliment). Get some pride back into your staff’s thinking.
fact, as the editor of the Daily News comments in a very telling
leader of 30 August, get it right or "it will be difficult, if not
impossible, for anyone to distinguish between them (MDC) and ZANU PF, which
they seek to replace in national government".
As a post-script, I would add that this
absolutely iniquitous increase
will be the death blow to every pensioner who has tried, by all means they
can, to hold to a minimum acceptable standard of living.
I have read for some time of pensioners who, receiving
one time too
often their miserable unlivable pensions fixed 15-20 years ago, have done
away with themselves.
OK, they are mainly whiteys
on their own, and utterly dispensable
(aren’t we?), but it still must be a black mark against Zimbabwe – and the
Harare City Council (I hope the mayor of the Munich City Council, with whom
we are twinned, reads this).
Nil desperandum? To the Harare City Council I say, tea
kidoli ( and if
that’s Swahili, I will let someone else translate it).
P N R Silversides
People have simply lost confidence in banking system
There are many factors that can explain better the current cash
shortage in the country and one of them is that the people have lost
confidence in banks.
It is, however, this confidence
that needs to be restored for the the
crisis to end or lessen. We can print as many notes as we can, but once this
confidence is absent, then we are fighting a losing battle .
I really don’t see any reason why
people should not hoard the newly
just lost confidence in banks. What is the reason for
banking a million today and tomorrow if, when I need the money, I am given
With this kind of a scenario people prefer to keep their money
It is also a known fact that there is no
longer any incentive for
people to bank money.
there are a lot of these exorbitant bank charges. These are
actually driving off potential money depositors.
In fact, many banks now charge
you for depositing your money,
notwithstanding the fact that they make a lot of money by giving out your
money as loans which they charge at up to 100 percent interest.
Confidence in banking needs to be restored.
Why should people put
their money in banks when it’s losing value at 499.5 percent and they are
paid a paltry 25 percent interest?
Offering attractive interest rates to depositors could go a long way
go a long way in solving the current cash crisis we are facing.
University of zimbabwe
Ratepayers, let’s reclaim Harare from meddlesome, politicking Chombo
The City of Harare is again about to enter the Solomon Tawengwa era
where stagnant growth was the salient feature.
Central government is busy politicking on municipal
Government Minister Ignatius Chombo has dismally failed to come up with
sustainable solutions despite his interference with the municipality.
Residents and ratepayers of this city yearn and
expect to see
developmental changes – changes that could make businesses expand and create
employment to many suffering individuals.
The swiftness with which he suspended Executive Mayor Elias Mudzuri
should have been reciprocated by the appointed commission telling us the
residents, who voted the "corrupt" mayor, of his maladministration.
minister seems unmoved by not telling us, who employ the mayor
councillors, about the fate of our number one resident. I demand from the
minister that in as much as he wants transparency and accountability at Town
House, equally he should be the same to Harare residents.
- We need clean water/air
- We need passable roads
- We need social amenities, which are now in a deplorable state.
- We need business investment.
- We need a properly administered council by elected representatives
not the present scenario where the council is under the ministerial barrage
Residents and ratepayers of Harare, let us claim
Please, note that this letter is
written in my personal capacity as a
Harare resident for Harare is on fire.
Israel T. Mabhoo.
Combined Harare Residents’ Association
What sanctions when trade with the West is flourishing?
The letter by Denford Magora cannot go unchallenged (Daily News 4
Magora sounds like a learned
fellow to me and it disappoints me to see
that he really thinks the mess Zimbabwe is in right now is purely George W
Bush and Tony Blair’s fault.
If my memory serves me correct, the sanctions in
question, referred to
as smart sanctions, were merely targeted at ZANU PF bigwigs and apologists
at the height of the bloody parliamentary and presidential elections. The
basis behind these smart sanctions are purely human rights abuse and
subversion of law in Zimbabwe.
sanctions mainly focused on:
- banning travel to various Western countries by Zimbabwean ministers,
senior officials and Zanu PF apologists;
- freezing of their overseas assets;
- prohibition of defence sales and suspension of all defence links;
- suspension of bilateral ministerial contact.
These measures were designed to influence the ZANU PF
return to good governance and the rule of law, while avoiding harm to the
people of Zimbabwe. This, therefore, meant that humanitarian assistance to
President Robert Mugabe
has on several occasions lashed out at various
donor organisations that had been for years pouring in millions of dollars
of aid to Zimbabwe.
We all remember Mugabe’s utterances against the
Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, in particular, during Independence Day
celebrations in 1999.
His exact words were:
"Let that monstrous creature get out of our way
(IMF). Why should we continue to plead? Let us look elsewhere for resources.
After all, the money is not to be given free of charge."
At the time, Zimbabwe was desperately
waiting for some US$53 million
(Z$2.915 billion) in balance-of-payments support. The rest is history.
The ruling ZANU PF party has
openly rebuked, and continues to rebuke,
donor organisations, and to expect the same organisations to continue
supporting Zimbabwe is craziness of the highest order.
Donor agencies and organisations that have been
doing a splendid job
providing humanitarian support to the suffering Zimbabweans for years have
had to endure meddling and bashing from ZANU PF.
The dire consequences for those that could not stand the
Most recently, the government ordered the
United Nations and other
relief agencies to surrender their emergency food aid to ruling party
officials, who would then be responsible for distribution. This was plainly
a move designed to ensure the food aid deliveries would be used as a
political weapon to gain mileage.
Expecting such organisations to continue supporting
under such conditions is simply insanity of the highest order.
Nobody in their right mind would ever be charitable to a
spits in your face.
It is very unfortunate
that gullible Zimbabweans have fallen prey to
ZANU PF’s propaganda, blaming non-existent sanctions for Zimbabwe’s economic
Zimbabwe continues to trade with numerous Western countries – had
there been economic sanctions, we would not be witnessing this.
example in 2002, Zimbabwe’s exports to the United Kingdom amounted
to £86 million, and imports amounted to £52 million.
With regards to the United Sates, so far in 2003, exports amount to
US$17.6 million and imports have so far amounted to US$33.4 million. Now,
are these indicators of a country under economic sanctions? This is contrary
to the concept of economic sanctions adopted by the UN in 1945 in its
charter, as a means of maintaining global order. The bottom line is that the
economic rot current prevailing is a result of land seizures and dubious
economics. A country which was once southern Africa’s breadbasket is now
widely seen as a basket case by the whole world. Tapson Nkaniyabo
'Botswana is trying to create a Gaza Strip'
September 08 2003 at 03:20AM
While the electric fence goes up between Zimbabwe
and Botswana, Zimbabwe's
opposition is sending delegations to several African countries to brief them
on its efforts to end the political and economic deadlock in the country.
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) secretary-general Welshman Ncube said
the party had "invitations from African Union countries to brief them on our
All countries in the 14-member Southern African Development Community (SADC)
are to be visited, as well as Nigeria, Senegal and Benin. SADC includes
Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi,
Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, the Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland,
Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
"The African leaders now understand the situation as they are hearing it
from us, not from Zanu-PF."
But relations between Zimbabwe and its neighbours seem to be increasingly
strained and Botswana has accused Zimbabwean refugees of robbing houses and
harassing its children.
The government is building an electric fence 500km long. It is purportedly
to prevent foot-and-mouth infested cattle from crossing the border but it is
The combative Zimbabwean high commissioner to Gaborone, Phelekeza Mphoko,
said last week that "Botswana is trying to create a Gaza Strip" by putting
up the fence.
Botswanan President Festus Mogae is one of the few African leaders to have
spoken out against the policies of his Zimbabwean counterpart, Robert
Botswana is repatriating 2 500 Zimbabweans every month, he said, but the
total number of Zimbabweans living in Botswana illegally is estimated at 60
000 to 100 000.
Zimbabwe is culling thousands of buffalo to "contain" foot-and-mouth disease
in a move that has sparked protests.
Conservationists said it would kill off what was left of Zimbabwe's tourism
sector, which has shrunk to 15 percent of its former level since political
disturbances began in 2000.
Salmon Joubert, a retired executive director of the Kruger National Park,
said the decision "ranks as one of the most futile and bizarre moves".
Many other cloven-hoofed animals, such as impala and kudu, are carriers of
foot-and-mouth disease, so Zimbabwe would have to exterminate all of them,
Officials from the department of national parks and wildlife management
descended on private game parks last week telling owners that the government
of Mugabe had decided to destroy all buffalo on private land in order to
eliminate the foot-and-mouth outbreak.
The national parks officials indicated that, alternatively, the buffalo in
the private game parks could be seized and taken to the government's
national parks to control their movements. However, fences at most national
game parks were destroyed at the height of farm invasions last year, leaving
the buffalo there free to mix with cattle in villages. - Sapa-AP
Zim game park land grab victim
08/09/2003 21:38 - (SA)
Aubrey Ntobon, Media24 Africa
Harare - A popular game
park outside Harare will probably have to close
after "war veterans" lay siege to the park last week.
Police arrested several employees of the Lion and Cheetah Park when they
tried to stop the land invaders. The war veterans said the park forms part
of the land they were awarded under the land reform programme.
Johnny Rodrigues, chairperson of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
(ZCTF), said all 19 employees were released a day later because none of the
plaintiffs arrived for the court case.
Rodrigues said a senior defence force officer led the "veterans" during the
"We are very concerned over the welfare of the animals because previous
experiences have shown that the animals are soon slaughtered when they are
in the hands of the war veterans. We are investigating the possibility of
taking the animals to a safer place."
The Lion and Cheetah Park has elephants, lions, hyenas, sable antelope and
Rodrigues said the owners of the Halglen animal reserve northeast of
Bulawayo are also under pressure to give up the reserve and its 3 200
animals. He said the reserve was not suitable for agriculture.
The minister of land affairs, agriculture and land relocation was not
available for comment.